Embracing the Awkward and Building a Culture of Practice

Apr 25, 2016 | by Janice Smith

I am SO excited to begin sharing some of our newest footage from KIPP Metro Atlanta in coming weeks.  In fact, over the next two weeks you can expect to see a whole bunch of new footage appearing in the Mission 100% video library, ranging from K-12th grade. The clips we’re most excited about, however, are those focused on instructional coaching and teacher development.  This is definitely targeted more for those of you in instructional coaching roles, looking to see examples of how other schools/networks structure and approach their teacher professional development.  About half of this footage will be featuring interviews with School Leaders and Instructional Coaches in order to get behind the curtain and into their heads, but half will also show these coaches and leaders in action.  These will be clips from O3’s (one-on-ones, or individual coaching meetings), as well as something they’re implementing in the KIPP Metro Atlanta region called Teachbacks (opportunities to practice lessons with their peers and receive feedback before ever implementing with students).

Today’s clip is an interview with Siobhan Gardener, an Instructional Coach at South Fulton Academy in Atlanta.  In this video interview she discusses how she builds a culture of practice with her teachers, something that can often times be awkward, uncomfortable and something we’d rather avoid than embrace.  In every O3 and Teachback we captured we saw many examples of teachers practicing, and we want to start with Siobhan’s thoughts on how they build a culture where there is commonplace.  Stay tuned next week to watch her in action, and observe how she uses practice to develop stronger, more rigorous questioning with one of her middle school Social Studies teachers.


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